How to Write Good News

News is an event that has relevance and importance to society. People in different societies will have varying interests in what is newsworthy, for example a farm wall collapsing and killing both a cow and a pig will be of more interest to some people than others. The news media will then judge what is important enough to make a story. The biggest stories will be given prominent exposure, such as on the front page of a newspaper or being read on the radio bulletins, while less significant events may be given lesser coverage and relegated to inside pages or the back of the paper.

Traditionally, newspapers, magazines and radio have been the main sources of news but as technology advances and other forms of media come to the fore, new channels for news are opening up. For example, websites and blogs can provide up-to-the-minute news. However, these newer sources are often not regulated or monitored in the same way as traditional news outlets and there is concern that the quality of information could suffer.

The key to a good news article is to get the reader’s attention and keep it. This can be achieved through a catchy headline that is emotionally evocative or creates curiosity, such as “Two-year old boy saved from lion attack in Zimbabwe.” The story itself should follow the same formula: it begins with an interesting or dramatic hook and then leads into the meat of the article which explains the main point, known as the lede. This is usually a short paragraph or two that answers the questions who, what, when, where and why.

This is followed by a nut graph which gives further details and context to the news story. Often, this will include the impact on society and may also offer some opinions from those involved in or affected by the news story. A good news article will then conclude with a restatement of the lead and a statement of potential future developments that may further add to the topic.

Most people would agree that the job of the news media is to inform and educate their readers, listeners or viewers. But it can also entertain, for example through drama and comedy shows on television or music and crosswords in the newspaper. It is important to note that entertainment should never compromise the accuracy of the news, rather it should complement it.

A recent study showed that the news people receive is very different depending on where they get their information from. In particular, the study found that many of the stories people heard on local radio contained little or no original reporting. Instead, most of the stories repackaged or repeated existing news. This was even more pronounced in newspaper stories and talk radio. Journalists are expected to avoid bias in their reporting but this has become harder and harder to do as the world changes around us.